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The Quizmaster’s Tale

Mark Holman

Many of you may not realise that for the past two years, the Newsletter Quiz questions have been set in New Zealand, thanks to the wonders of the Internet. How did this come about? Who better to tell you than the man himself, Mark Holman…

Greetings from Aotearoa, New Zealand. My involvement with Porter Press began in 2006 when I proofread the second of the Stirling Moss Scrapbooks (my childhood hero: the schoolboy in me used to save my pocket money to send SM a Christmas card and I always got a reply). This very focused but enjoyable task continued for many more PP titles, from Murray Walker and Ferrari 857S to Ultimate E-type, with the last (so far) being the two-volume masterpiece on the Porsche 956. I also wrote the 61 race summaries for the three Le Mans Model Collection books.

In the middle of all this, Philip asked if I would like to take on a short-term assignment at Porter Press HQ, to continue the involvement with books and to assist with the arrangements for XK60 at Goodwood. I think he and Julie were mildly surprised to receive a positive reply within about 25 minutes! With thanks to my wife Gail, who generously stayed in NZ to mind the fort, I arrived at Hilltop Farm during the snowy Spring of 2008. The next five months are a bit of a blur: hectic, often somewhat stressful but an experience I will always treasure. I was able to meet Sir SM and Murray Walker and also to enjoy the company of neat people such as Abi and Annelise who – with Philip, of course - still are my primary contacts at the PP office.

I was delighted to extend my involvement a couple of years ago when Philip asked if I would take on setting the quiz Q&As for the fortnightly newsletter. Nearly all of them are based closely on a book from the PP stable: some titles have lent themselves more readily to the process than others but it’s fun trying to come up with a quiz that is both entertaining and challenging for newsletter readers. I hope you’ll continue to enjoy them!

My day job was far removed from all this. Except for owning a motorcycle shop in the early 1970s, I was a 50+ year civil servant in a range of NZ government departments including three years as Assistant Secretary to the Cabinet. All very fascinating, of course, but motor sport and motoring books are far more fun. Thanks, Philip!

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